Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Ain't It Cool News reported that Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon still plans a Ripper movie, centering on Buffy's Watcher, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), on the BBC in 2008.

Analog Chill Music Blog

A site I ran across today. Chapin fan.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kiss singer Paul Stanley suffers heart ailment

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paul Stanley, a singer and guitarist with rock band Kiss, was forced to pull out of a show in California on Friday after his heart started beating at more than twice the normal level, he said on his Web site.

The apparent tachycardia happened while the band was rehearsing for a performance at a casino in San Jacinto, California, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.

"My heart spontaneously jumped to 190 plus beats per minute, where it stayed for over an hour necessitating paramedics to start an IV and give me a shot to momentarily stop my heart and get it into a normal pattern," Stanley, 55, wrote on his site (http://www.paulstanley.com)

A normal heart rate at rest is about 60 to 80 beats a minute, according to the American Heart Association.

Tachycardia, or rapid heart rate, can cause palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or near fainting, the group said on its Web site (http://www.americanheart.org).

Stanley said he was advised performing would be risky, and the show went on without him. Fellow principal Gene Simmons told fans the group would play as a trio, and turned the show into a tribute to his ailing bandmate.

A call to Kiss manager Doc McGhee for an update on Stanley's condition was not immediately returned late on Saturday.

Stanley, born Stanley Eisen, and Simmons co-founded Kiss in New York City in 1973. Adored by fans, despised by critics, the group made a name for itself performing in white face make-up and ghoulish costumes.

Hits during its heyday included such anthems of teen rebellion as "Rock and Roll All Nite" and "Shout It Out Loud." Stanley released a solo album last year.

From -


By Louis Antonelli, Jim Lunger & Keith Leroux

Last night an extraordinary page was written in KISSTORY. At the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California, last stop of the band’s 2007 ‘Hit & Run’ mini Tour, KISS performed as a TRIO for the first time ever. Immediately following the band’s sound check, Paul Stanley suddenly fell ill, with what was later determined to be a “cardiac event”.

Once it was determined by emergency medical staff that Paul could not perform, there was talk that the show would need to be canceled. It was Paul himself, who insisted that the band play the show without him. Paul was concerned that fans had traveled long distances and because of the band's individual schedules the show could not be rescheduled.

KISS Manager Doc McGhee then took the stage to announce to the crowd that Paul was sick and unable to perform but that Gene wanted to speak with the fans. Gene asked the audience if they wanted him, Tommy & Eric to perform. The crowd responded with a defeaning chant of yes, yes, yes. With that, Gene announced that the concert (If they could pull it off), was a tribute to “The Greatest Voice in Rock and Roll - Rock God Paul Stanley”.

With Paul en route to the hospital - Gene,Tommy and Eric played their hearts out in honor of their stricken leader! The set list evolved as the night progressed and KISS blasted their way into the hot night air - valiantly trying to hold it together minus the band’s heart & soul. In an emotionally charged moment, Gene told the crowd that he was an only child, but nevertheless had a brother – Paul Stanley! ‘Christine Sixteen' brought 11 invited fans onto the stage to help perform the song, and added a bit of lighthearted fun to the pensive night.

The trio went on to perform a full set including classics and rarities - ‘Watchin’ You’, ‘Goin’ Blind’, ‘Nothing to Lose’, ‘Black Diamond’, ‘Cold Gin’, ‘She’, and ‘Parasite’. The sold out arena was filled with dedicated fans who appreciated what a unique night this really was, despite its bittersweet nature, and rocked hard & loud. As the final chords of ‘Rock & Roll All Night’ were struck, and the last jets of flames and confetti shot into the night sky, everyone realized what they had just witnessed was simply great music performed by dedicated, extraordinary musicians who really gave it their all, and then some.

Another thing every KISS fan at the show last night realized - is just how lucky we are that our favorite band, led by the greatest front man in Rock N Roll PAUL STANLEY, cares so much for us fans!

Get well soon Paul - we all love you!

KISS Performing Without PAUL STANLEY: First Video Footage Posted Online - July 29, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dual Spocks for Abrams' Star Trek

Yesterday at 3:35 pm

Four Vulcan ears are always better than two.

J.J. Abrams, creator of Lost and Alias and the auteur who will be reviving the Star Trek franchise next year, said Thursday that his take on the sci-fi classic will feature dual Mr. Spocks, the younger of the two to be played by Heroes villain Zachary Quinto, as reported earlier this week by E! Online's TV blog.

And serving as young Spock's older and wiser incarnation will be none other than Leonard Nimoy, who was on hand when the good news was announced during Paramount Pictures' panel at Comic-Con, aka fanboy heaven, in San Diego.

"People have been asking me why I'm doing this movie, and I think the answer is obvious—we have a great director, a wonderful script, and a wonderful young actor playing Spock, so…it was logical," said the 76-year-old Nimoy, to everybody's proudly dorky delight.

Per the closely guarded script penned by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, Quinto will star as Spock in his pre-Wrath of Khan days. Nimoy, meanwhile, will have a meaty cameo.

When asked how much of his take on the half-Vulcan Enterprise veteran will be inspired by Nimoy, Quinto, was last seen opening skulls and getting skewered as the power-hungry Sylar on Heroes, said: "Well, as much as he'd like it to be, since he's working on the film, which is an honor."

But, "I certainly intend to bring my own spin to it, and working with these guys, I'm sure I'll find it," he added.

Abrams' addition to the canon, which is slated for a Christmas Day 2008 release, couldn't be coming at a better time, at least for Trekkers, considering there hasn't been a new addition to the cinematic series in more than five years, and because, for the first time in what seems like forever, there is no first-run Star Trek spinoff series on the air right now.

While the last cinematic permutation of the series was 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, Nimoy hasn't played big-screen Spock since 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Shooting on the new film—which, taking a cue from Casino Royale and Batman Begins, will bring us back to where it all began for Spock and pal James T. Kirk—is expected to kick off in November.

Abrams, who promised that he'd return to Comic-Con next year with more scoop, said that the role of young Kirk has not yet been cast and that they're trying to find a way to get William Shatner involved.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Grand slam puts exclamation point on Biggio's day

They stood throughout Minute Maid Park in the sixth inning Tuesday night, focused on Craig Biggio at the plate. In the home dugout and in the stands, they craved one of those storybook moments that rarely materialize the way fans and players envision.

Only six hours after Biggio had shown gratitude for being able to write his own retirement script and announcing this will be his last season as a major league player, the Astros icon added the perfect ending to his monumental day.

The bases were loaded, and the score was tied. The crowd of 38,247 was on its feet and sending a raucous echo through Minute Maid Park. Biggio rewarded his fans with a grand slam into the Crawford Boxes.

With that homer off righthander Rudy Seanez, Biggio pushed the Astros to a 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers that tied their three-game series heading into tonight's finale.

"I didn't even feel like I was touching the bases at times," said Biggio, 41, who will retire after his 20th season, all in Houston. "It was just a magical, magical day.

"I topped it off with an unbelievable ending."

Like an obedient servant to the adoring masses, Biggio responded to the "B-G-O! B-G-O!" chants by tipping his cap during a curtain call.

After trailing 3-1, the Astros scored six runs in the sixth to take a 7-3 lead. That outburst made a winner out of righthander Jason Jennings (2-6), who gave up three runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts over six innings.

"Leave it to (Biggio) to announce his retirement and hit a grand slam the same day — a game-winning grand slam," Jennings said after snapping a career-high five-game losing streak with his first victory at Minute Maid Park. "It was definitely a great memory that not only he'll have; he gave all of us a great memory tonight."

Jennings, who allowed all his runs in the second inning, was lifted for Mike Lamb, who drew the walk that loaded the bases for Biggio.

The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the first against Dodgers lefthander Mark Hendrickson. Mark Loretta set up the run with a one-out double to center and reached third on Lance Berkman's groundout to second. After Carlos Lee was intentionally walked, Loretta scored when Hendrickson uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-1 offering to Morgan Ensberg.

The lead was erased when former Astro Jeff Kent led off the second with a home run into the Crawford Boxes to tie the score. Luis Gonzalez, another former Astro, followed with a single to right against Jennings.

Gonzalez stole second, and Nomar Garciaparra drew a walk. Elkins High graduate James Loney followed with an RBI double off the wall in left field. Andre Ethier made it 3-1 with an RBI groundout.

Berkman led off the sixth with a single through the left side. Lee followed with a ground-rule double to right, prompting the Dodgers to call on the bullpen.

Ensberg greeted Seanez (6-2) with a two-run double down the left-field line, tying the score at 3.

"To do something positive, that's great," Ensberg said. "It's been a very difficult year for me, and I refuse to give up and (will) continue to try to fight and battle.

"It was great to have that ball just inch down the line. I can't tell you how happy I was."

After Jason Lane walked, Ensberg was forced out at third on Eric Bruntlett's fielder's choice.

Eric Munson fouled out to third, but Lamb kept the inning alive with a walk to load the bases. Biggio followed with his second grand slam of the season and the fourth of his career.

"I went up to (Biggio) and told him to hit home plate and run directly out of the stadium," Ensberg said. "You just hit a grand slam on the day you said you were retiring. It's downhill from here."

Russell Martin hit an RBI double in the eighth inning off Dan Wheeler to cut the Astros' lead to 7-4. Though allowing two runners in the ninth, Brad Lidge earned his fourth save, sealing the victory on Biggio's night.

"It was crazy," Biggio said. "Once again, what do you say? Emotionally, it was a tough day. But to be able to have that happen, I mean, that's just (nuts).

"I still think I'm going to die early because of this stuff this year that's happened. It's kind of nuts. It was a special, special night."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Biggio says he'll retire at end of season

Craig Biggio, who reached baseball immortality earlier this year when he reached 3,000 career hits, will announce in a press conference this afternoon at Minute Maid Park that he will retire following the 2007 season.

Biggio, 41, has played his entire 20-year career with the Astros and last month became the 27th player in the history of baseball to reach 3,000 hits. He's in sixth place on the all-time doubles list with 661 and has hit more doubles than any righthanded player in history.

Biggio had his playing time reduced at the All-Star break, but will continue to start most of the team's games at home. Unless the Astros make the playoffs, his final game will be Sept. 30 against the Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park.

Biggio broke into the majors in 1988 as a catcher and would become a fixture in the Astros' lineup for two decades, switching to second base to the outfield and eventually returning to second base. He finished in the top five on the Most Valuable Player voting in 1997 and 1998 and established himself as one of the game's top second baseman. He's a career .282 hitter with 286 homers, 3,014 hits and 1,826 runs.

Biggio made the All-Star team seven times in the 1990s, including both at catcher and second base, won four Gold Gloves at second base and holds baseball's modern-day record for being hit by a pitch. He and longtime teammate Jeff Bagwell, who retired last year, are considered the greatest players to wear an Astros uniform, and they helped take the struggling franchise to new heights culminating in a World Series berth in 2005.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Very Interesting

I am very excited about next year's Rocket's team.

Steve Francis returning to Rockets

Former Rockets guard Steve Francis is about to be future Rockets guard Steve Francis.

Francis chose the Rockets over the Heat, Mavericks and Clippers, his agent Jeff Fried said on Thursday.

"I just hung up with Daryl (Morey, the Rockets general manager)," Fried said. "He is dealing with facilitating the contract.

"It's a combination of a variety of factors including the fit with the team, a comfortableness with the organization and a familiarity with the surroundings. He has a home in Houston. In so many ways, it has remained his home, despite some interim stops, Orlando and New York.

"For Steve, it's coming home."

Nice Morena Baccarin fan site

The ladies of Firefly/Serenity

Welcome to Morena Baccarin Online, your number one source for the actress Morena Baccarin. Everything you need to know about the actress best known for her role in the short-lived television show Firefly can be found here! Our image gallery has over 4000 pictures!

Here's a good interview with Morena.

Buffy comic book keeps the series going

McClatchy Tribune

Those fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer who didn't know the character is still kicking pointy teeth four years after the series finale shouldn't feel bad.

Creator Joss Whedon hasn't even told Sarah Michelle Gellar or the rest of the cast about the new comic series, which picks up where Season 7 of the hit television show ended.

"I have not told them," says the 43-year-old Whedon. "I can tell you right now what everyone's reaction would be: 'My nose doesn't look like that!' "

What the actors have been missing in Dark Horse Comics' Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 is the first four issues of a planned 40-issue run. The story, drawn by artist Georges Jeanty, pits the titular heroine against an army of zombies and a military of a more traditional kind. Issue No. 5 goes on sale Aug. 1.

After a series of frustrations in Hollywood — including the cancellation of a television series, Firefly; his abrupt divorce from Warner Bros.' Wonder Woman movie, which he was slated to write and direct; and the slow development of Goners, a supernatural thriller — Whedon said he needed an escape to the four-panel world of comic books.

Whedon has been working in the medium for the past few years. Scoring a gig writing Marvel Comics' Astonishing X-Men was a particular "nerdgasm," he explains.

"It's like a weekend at a spa," says Whedon, comparing the comic-book industry to Hollywood.

"You have a creative concept, and instead of going through an endless array of suits to realize it," he says, "instead of spending millions of dollars of someone else's money to realize it — which is why the suits come along — you give it to an artist."

There are other perks.

Whedon turned Buffy's sister Dawn Summers into a 50-foot giant, which would have blown an entire season's worth of special-effects budget in real, and reel, life.

"It gives us enormous freedom, particularly because our show was never terribly expensive," said Whedon. "There was just a limit on where our imaginations could go.

"I realized that there were lots of fun things I could do," says Whedon, "and with the exhaustion of seven seasons now passed, I see there was no reason we didn't have an eighth other than the physical grind of it."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mmm Morena

Lovitz reportedly roughs up Andy Dick

Fight stems from long-running feud over the death of fellow comedian Phil Hartman

Two funny guys are having a feud that isn't even close to being humorous.

According to the New York Post, the animus between Jon Lovitz and Andy Dick, which has its roots in the slaying of Phil Hartman a decade ago, exploded in a fight last week at an L.A. comedy club when Lovitz roughed up Dick.

Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada said, "Jon picked Andy up by the head and smashed him into the bar four or five times, and blood started pouring out of his nose."

Lovitz and Dick reportedly have been feuding since a 1997 Christmas party at Hartman's house, five months before his wife, Brynn, fatally shot Hartman, then killed herself.

"Andy was doing cocaine, and he gave Brynn some after she had been sober for 10 years. Phil was furious about it — and then five months later he's dead," said Lovitz.

Last year, Lovitz related, a drunken Dick strolled up to his table at an establishment in West Hollywood, downed his guests' peach liqueur drinks, and "looked at me and said, 'I put the "Phil Hartman hex" on you — you're the next one to die.' I said, 'What did you say?' and he repeated it."

When the two ran into each other at the Laugh Factory last Wednesday, "I wanted him to say he was sorry for the 'Phil Hartman hex,' " Lovitz said. "First he says, 'I don't remember saying that.' Then he leans in and says, 'You know why I said it? Because you said I killed Phil Hartman.' Which I never said."

Of the fight, Lovitz said:

"I'm not proud of it ... but he's a disgusting human being."

Dick's rep said he had no comment on the feud.


I can't stand Andy Dick, he is disgusting. - Marc

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Torchwood Secrets To Be Revealed

John Barrowman, who plays Captain Jack on the BBC Two's Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, told SCI FI Wire that the upcoming second season will reveal more about his character's complicated backstory.

"Every day I come in, or every new script I get, I learn something new about my character, which keeps it fresh," Barrowman said in an interview at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., on July 13. "And it means that when I play things, I play them differently, because I know different things about him now."

The character of Captain Jack was introduced in a two-part episode of Doctor Who and went on to appear in the final five episodes of the first season. Later, he become the leader of a secret organization at the center of the spinoff show, Torchwood. How he got from one place and time to the other is a mystery that will gradually unfold over the course of Torchwood's second season.

"You don't know the exact date when Jack returned yet," Barrowman said. "We do know he was left on Satellite Five [at the end of season one of Doctor Who]. He was brought back to life. He then came back to Earth and arrived back in another time and had to live through it to get to the point where the Doctor came back. In [season] two of Torchwood, there's some of that revealed."

In his performance, Barrowman is also now bearing in mind an intriguing new piece of information about the character, which was slipped into the end of the recent third season of Doctor Who (currently airing on the SCI FI Channel). He couldn't talk about the twist in specifics, but he did say that it came as a shock, not only to him, but also to co-star David Tennant, who plays the Doctor.

"It's always something that takes you by surprise, otherwise it wouldn't be fiction," Barrowman said. "And I love that. And that script, when it came out, David read it. We were filming at the time, and he came running to my trailer and he went, 'F--k me. Have you read this?' And I went, 'No.' And he went, 'Oh, my God. Hurry up.' I went, 'Shut up and get out of my trailer. I'm not reading it yet.' ... So then I read it, and on a lunch break I ran to his trailer and knocked on the door, and he went, 'Well?' And I went, 'F--k me!' But it's absolutely brilliant."

Season two of Torchwood will also further develop the character of Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman, who will be making a guest appearance in three episodes.

"It's a perfect progression for her character," Barrowman said. "Because she develops such a strong character by the end of [season] three. So if Jack needs help, who else is he going to call? Jack trusted her to save the world. So did the Doctor. So who are you going to call? Martha Jones."

The third season of Doctor Who is currently running on SCI FI Channel Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Torchwood's first season will begin airing on BBC America on Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. —Cindy White

Who Writer Addresses Rumors

Steven Moffat, who has written some of the most memorable episodes of the BBC's new Doctor Who, told SCI FI Wire that fans have no cause to worry that the rumored departure of executive producer Russell T. Davies at the end of the fourth season will mean the end of the franchise, but he did not deny the rumor.

"I know that there's tremendous anxiety among Doctor Who fans about the future of Doctor Who," Moffat said in an interview at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was promoting his upcoming BBC America series, Jekyll. "Here's an answer that people should listen to. No broadcaster lets go of a show like Doctor Who. They'd have to be out of their f--king minds."

The new iteration of Doctor Who premiered in 2005 and just completed its third season in the United Kingdom. Each season has seen a major casting change, and the fourth one will be no exception. Catherine Tate has been announced as the Doctor's new companion, reprising the role of Donna Noble from last year's Christmas special, The Runaway Bride.

Moffat pointed out that Doctor Who has managed to remain popular despite these changes and that the show is bigger than any one person.

"If Doctor Who demonstrates anything—any simple truth about television—it's that everyone is dispensable," he said. "Doctor Who is probably there forever. It will probably outlive everyone on [fan Web site] Outpost Gallifrey. That's probably the truth. I'm not saying that it will run continuously for 20 years. They might give it a rest for a while, but I wouldn't imagine Doctor Who would rest for very long now. But Doctor Who is completely safe. It's not in great danger. It's been the center of British culture since Kennedy was shot. I mean, it's not going away. Look, they turned it to s--t and took it off for 15 years, and that didn't kill it. I mean, what's going to kill it now? Success?"

When asked if he might be the one to take over should Davies leave the show, Moffat appeared slightly uncomfortable. "Next question," he answered after a long pause. "There's a lot of things to think about there." The third season of Doctor Who is currently running on SCI FI Channel Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT. —Cindy White

Marsters Gets Racy On Torchwood

John Barrowman, who plays Capt. Jack Harkness on the BBC's Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, told SCI FI Wire that a salacious comment made by guest star James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) at a recent convention about his character was a completely accurate description.

"That's right," Barrowman said in an interview at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., on July 13. "'You're going to have to go finish yourself off at the end of it.' And he's absolutely right. And we filmed that three days ago, and it took 12 hours. I can't tell you what that was like."

Marsters is best known for playing Spike, the platinum-blond, British-born vampire with a weakness for a certain chosen one on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff series, Angel.

Julie Gardner, executive-producer of Torchwood, said that Marsters will play an "omnisexual" character who has a past connection to Barrowman's Capt. Jack.

"We're kind of really embracing the omnisexual word, aren't we?" Gardner said in a separate interview. "They should all fancy each other. I mean, when they're as sexy as they are, you just want to believe anything's possible. There's a very big story for him in episode one. He and Jack have a very big shared history."

Marsters is now filming his episode in Cardiff, Wales, and has been enjoying the experience, by all accounts. "I heard from [Who executive producer] Russell T. Davies today, and James is having a blast," Gardner said. "He's loving it. He's really, really happy."

Torchwood will return for a second season in the United Kingdom on BBC Two in early 2008. The first season premieres in the United States on BBC America on Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. —Cindy White

Duchovny: X-Files 2 Script Is Done

David Duchovny, who played special agent Fox Mulder on the television series The X-Files and in the 1998 feature film, told reporters that he will be getting a finished script of a proposed second movie this week. Speaking in a news conference at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. on July 14, Duchovny said that The X-Files creator Chris Carter drafted the new script with longtime producing partner Frank Spotnitz. (Duchovny was promoting his new Showtime series Californication.)

"Chris has written it with Frank Spotnitz, and Chris will direct it," Duchovny said. "And [co-star Gillian Anderson is] on board, and I'm on board, and that's all I can tell you. I mean, I'm looking forward to seeing what he did."

Rumors of a second film have been circulating since the previous one came out. This time, Duchovny said that the long-anticipated sequel project is finally moving forward.

"Before, I would just say that because they told me," Duchovny said. "But now I've been talking to Chris and he's been giving me progress reports. He actually called yesterday and said next week we should have something."

Duchovny added that he's looking forward to bringing back Mulder because "he's cool." Filming for the proposed stand-alone film would begin in November, with an eye toward release in the summer of 2008, he said. —Cindy White

Farscape Revived On SCIFI.COM

SCI FI Channel will revive its popular original show Farscape as a Web-based series of short films on SCIFI.COM's SCI FI Pulse broadband network, part of a slate of new original online programming.

SCI FI has ordered 10 webisodes of Farscape, to be produced by Brian Henson and Robert Halmi Jr. and produced by The Jim Henson Co., in association with RHI Entertainment.

The series will expand the Farscape universe, but the network had no announcements on casting or premiere dates.

Other new online series include SCI FI Tech, a companion to SCIFI.COM's SCI FI Tech blog, and Invent This!, which sets out to find the world's quirkiest inventions and get into the minds of the inventors behind each creation.

Ashes Flashes Back To '80s

Julie Gardner, executive producer of the upcoming BBC spinoff of the hit time-travel series Life on Mars, told SCI FI Wire that Ashes to Ashes will display the fashions of the 1980s in all their Day-Glo glory. "It's kind of Miami Vice in London," Gardner said in an interview at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. "It's all those things you remember, all those terrible fashion faux pas from the '80s. So it's big puff-ball skirts and bright colors and lipstick and big hair. ... We're gong to do all of that. And, hopefully, the occasional speedboat on the Thames or something."

Ashes to Ashes stars Keeley Hawes (MI-5) as deputy inspector Alex Drake, a modern-day police officer who finds herself in a predicament similar to that of Sam Tyler (John Simm) in Life on Mars. But instead of traveling back to the year 1973, Alex arrives in 1981. There she'll encounter unreconstructed detective chief inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) and the rest of his team of officers.

Gardner said that there are hints in the final episode of Life on Mars that will explain how Alex happens to encounter the same characters. "There is a clue there about how you can sustain a format," she said. "Because there are some back-references to Life on Mars, but essentially Ashes to Ashes stands alone. And what's great for us is the central continuation. It's Gene Hunt, the character, and he's brought some of his team with him."

Although the central premises of the two shows are similar, the writers have been careful to differentiate Ashes to Ashes from its predecessor.

"Matthew Graham and the team, they've just come up with a fantastic way of how that central character, played by Keeley, a character called Alex, gets back into this world," Gardner said. "Looking at a different period, a different decade, looking at the '80s, immediately gives them a lot of new story, and there are huge twists and turns for what happens to Alex. And I'm really not going to reveal them. There's going to be lots of layers. In the same way that Sam had his own journey, lots of kind of layered backstories. Lots of questions about the world and quite what is happening."

The actors will gather next week in London for the first time to read through the first script in the series, which was written by creator and executive producer Matthew Graham. Ashes to Ashes will air in the United Kingdom next year. —Cindy White

Monday, July 16, 2007

R.I.P. Harry

Harry Chapin passed away on this date 26 years ago. I'll never forget that day.

Friday, July 13, 2007

HBO's Conchords takes flight


Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — In the hilarious, self-spoofing, surreal HBO comedy Flight of the Conchords, New Zealanders Jemaine Clement and Bret Mc- Kenzie are living in New York City, trying to find places where they can perform their funny songs and awkwardly approaching women on the street and at parties. It's not unusual for them to break into song at any moment.

Refreshingly new and offbeat, Flight of the Conchords has made Clement and McKenzie two of the coolest cats on TV. Their fragile chemistry is in constant danger of being wrecked by one's devotion to a fan or another's connections to a girl or their inability to agree on a venue, but they are a team united by song and country, and inevitably stay friends.

In person, they are as deadpan and unassuming as they are in the show (9:30 p.m. Sundays), either unaware or not bothered by their sudden celebrity. Just seeing the two of them — Clement's the one with the goofy grin and black-rimmed glasses; McKenzie's the bearded one with the skinny ties — evokes a knowing grin from those who have seen their work.

Their onstage and on-screen personages are not far removed from what they are like in real life.

"I'm not sure that we're aware of the differences in our characters," said McKenzie. "We have exaggerated the stupidity, and Jemaine's much more of an (expletive). But there's a little bit of truth in them which makes them believable on-screen as well."

"That's why they work," says James Bobin, who with the boys created the series. "Jemaine and Bret are friends in real life, and that's why they have a natural rapport on-screen as well. And so even though they don't get along that well all the time, they can depend on each other, which is quite nice."

Their songs are a reflection of that familiarity and their humor.

How do they rate themselves as musicians?

"Bret's better than I am, and I'm worse than Bret is," says Clement.

"And I think we're both just above mediocre," says McKenzie.

They met as housemates, living with eight other people in New Zealand. There, they tried to learn guitar and tried playing other people's songs.

"That was too hard, so we started making up our own," says Clement.

"We started off playing small clubs, weddings and a local cricket club Christmas function," says McKenzie. "Eight years later, we're on TV. There was never a plan. We've just been incredibly lucky."

They scored an HBO special in 2005, then hooked up with Bobin for the series.

"Live we're looser and more improvised," says McKenzie. "A lot of comedy duos are competitive onstage, and I've always wanted to avoid that. But in order for the stories to last 30 minutes (for the series) we had to create more antagonism between the characters."

In the U.S., they gained a following through club appearances and on YouTube. With Conchords, obviously, their following is growing. In New Zealand?

"Well, we're on the news a lot, for having a show in America," says Clement. "We've been on TV more in New Zealand from being on the news than anything we've done there (on New Zealand TV)."

"It's a news story," says Bobin.

"Not the lead news story," says Clement. "There's also great irony in that New Zealand doesn't make very many or very many good comedy shows, and we were turned down for a show there."

Flight of the Conchords will premiere in New Zealand this fall.

So what's the coolest thing about living in America?

Clement: "People are friendly."

McKenzie: "Paying taxes to George Bush is a real treat."

Clement: "What Bret means to say is the people are friendly."

August Meteor Shower Will Be 'A Great Show'

Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
Thu Jul 12, 1:00 PM ET

The annual Perseid meteor shower is expected to put on a great show this year, peaking in mid-August with a display of dozens of shooting stars each hour.

The Moon will be out of the way, leaving dark skies for good viewing as Earth plunges through an ancient stream of comet debris. Little bits, most no larger than sand grains, will vaporize in Earth's atmosphere, creating sometimes-dramatic "shooting stars."

"It's going to be a great show," said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. "The Moon is new on August 12, which means no moonlight, dark skies and plenty of meteors."

How many?

This year the Perseid meteor shower could deliver one or two visible streaks every minute during peak times, Cooke said in a statement yesterday. Urban skywatchers will see fewer due to local light pollution.

The meteors in this shower all appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus. The best times to watch will be late night Aug. 12 through dawn Aug. 13.

"The August Perseids are among the strongest of the readily observed annual meteor showers, and at maximum activity nominally yield 90 or 100 meteors per hour," said Joe Rao, SPACE.com's Skywatching columnist. "However, observers with exceptional skies often record even larger numbers."

Observing tips

To see the show, one need only find a comfortable spot with a clear view of the northeast horizon, away from local lights. A dark rural location is best. Lay back on a blanket or lounge chair and scan the entire sky. In the late evening, starting around 9 p.m. local time, sharp-eyed observers might see "earthgrazing" meteors that skim the northeast horizon.

"Earthgrazers are long, slow and colorful," Cooke said. "They are among the most beautiful of meteors." But don't expect more than a handful in an hour, he said.

Later and during the overnight hours, the shooting stars will be higher in the sky as Perseus rises. Some skywatchers enjoy counting the number of meteors they see per minute, per hour or during a 15-minute interval and comparing notes.

Telescopes and binoculars are no help, as the meteors move too swiftly and are best observed with the naked eye.

Just Like an Angry Woman

Through miles of sand and bleached white dirt
They shambled on til their ankles hurt
The buzzards sailed high overhead
Riding on currents of thick hot dread
And the sun burned their hearts like an angry woman
It scorched their souls like an angry woman
Oh, like an angry woman

And then out of the west blew a breeze of luck
Eighteen wheels on a big black truck
An angel of mercy that was wrapped in steel
With an unwashed man stinkin' up behind the wheel
And the road stretched on like an angry woman
And the cab smelled like french fries like an angry woman
Phee-yew... An angry woman (What's that smell?)

Sun dropped low down in the sky
Like a pair of pants on an urban guy
Their stomachs cried out with a rumbling roar
Til they just 'bout near couldn't walk no more
They tried to eat a cactus like an angry woman
And scorpions chased them down like an angry woman
An angry woman...

He drove fast, he drove far,
He busted them dunes in his big ole car
The buzzards fled at the sight of him
The sight of the one that they call Grim
They went over the speed limit like an angry woman
They caused property damage like an angry woman
Oh man, just like an angry woman

Sung like Johnny Cash. From The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

30,000 Pounds of Bananas

Friday the 13th Birthdays

1957 - Cameron Crowe
1946 - Cheech Marin
1942 - Harrison Ford
1940 - Patrick Stewart

Friday, July 06, 2007

Tate Joins Doctor Who

British comic actress Catherine Tate will play the Doctor's newest companion in the BBC's upcoming fourth season of Doctor Who, the BBC announced. Tate will reprise the role of Donna, the runaway bride from the 2006 Christmas special.

Tate will join star David Tennant for the complete 13-week run of the new season, which is due to begin filming in Cardiff, Wales, later this month.

Freema Agyeman, who played the Doctor's companion, Martha Jones, in the third season, will return in the middle of the coming season. The third season of Doctor Who recently ended in the United Kingdom; it begins running on SCI FI Channel in the United States on July 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Agyeman, meanwhile, will play Martha Jones in three episodes of spinoff show Torchwood, which producers have said will expand her character.

The fourth season of Doctor Who is due to debut on BBC One in spring 2008. A Christmas special starring Tennant and Australian pop diva Kylie Minogue will air in December in the United Kingdom.

New Trek movie news

TrekMovie.com reported a rumor that Industrial Light & Magic will provide the visual effects for J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek movie and that the starship Enterprise will appear in the film in some form.

Doctor Who Season 3 (US) premiere tonight on SciFi

Rhinocerous cops, villains made entirely of leather, and a London hospital relocated to the surface of the moon all feature in this charming, hilarious third-season opener of the British sci-fi series. The episode also provides David Tennant's time-traveling alien title character with a new assistant: med student Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman). By the look of things, they may soon be playing doctor. Well, technically, it would be alien doctor. But that sounds a lot less sexy. Or does it?